A resolution calling for Governor Dan McKee to abandon his plans for a Homeless Village at the Pastore Center will go before the City Council’s Safety Services and Licensing Committee during a …
A resolution calling for Governor Dan McKee to abandon his plans for a Homeless Village at the Pastore Center will go before the City Council’s Safety Services and Licensing Committee during a special meeting on Nov. 3. Sponsored by Councilman Matt Reilly and Councilwoman Nicole Renzulli, the resolution also calls on local legislators to introduce a bill that would provide Cranston with final approval of any additions to the Pastore Center by the state.
Two weeks ago, the state reached out to the City of Cranston soliciting input on how the city would feel about constructing pallet shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness at the Pastore Center. Reilly objected to the proposition with a press release and letter to McKee’s office.
On Monday – in a second press release – Reilly called out McKee and Secretary of Housing Josh Saal for their “backpedaling and misrepresentations to the people of Cranston about their plans to construct a homeless village at the Pastore Center in Cranston.” According to the RI Coalition to End Homelessness website, 1,132 are experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island and 301 are living outdoors.
The resolution recognizes how residents of the Garden City, Garden Hills, Glen Hills, Oak Hill, Mayfield, and Dean Estates areas will be directly impacted by the new influx of homeless individuals and the proliferation of this form of housing.
The resolution points out that Cranston already hosts many state facilities and programs, which call for an increasing burden and demand on essential city services including public safety personnel at a substantial cost to the taxpayers. The document adds that other municipalities are equipped to assist the state with this housing plan for the homeless as a host community.
In the release, Reilly said McKee tried to minimize and deny the construction plans for the Homeless Village while, the next day, Saal stated that Cranston is being considered to host the homeless village.
“Let us be clear. They are lying,” said Reilly. “The state plans to build a homeless village at the Pastore Center in Cranston. I will continue to fight this as long as I have to until the Governor and his administration confirm publicly that they abandon all plans to construct a homeless village at the Pastore Center nor put any other additional homeless facilities, of any kind, in Cranston that endanger our residents and drain our tax dollars”
The Pastore Center is home to the largest men’s shelter in the state. Harrington Hall has approximately 130 individuals, which include sex offenders. The resolution suggests that the addition of homeless villages in Cranston would significantly increase the amount of registered sex offenders and homeless to an area.
“While Rhode Island’s homeless population is in need of a continuum of social services from the State, the City of Cranston can no longer be the sole location to solve all the State’s needs and challenges in this effort,” reads the resolution.
The resolution adds that Cranston has been taken advantage of financially by the State as it continues to intensify its use of the Pastore Complex with no oversight or say from the City of Cranston while reducing funding to the City.
According to the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness, pallet shelters provide a viable solution to unsheltered homelessness and can expand and contract as needed. Pallet shelters can easily be stored away when the number of people experiencing homelessness decreases and have been successfully used in communities across the country.
The coalition – which works collaboratively with advocates, providers and faith-based organizations to create and advance lasting solutions to prevent and end homelessness – added that more housing is needed.
“Pallet shelters serve an important purpose to get people off of the streets and into a safe and secure environment where they can then receive services and assistance to find permanent housing. The Pastore Center is an ideal location for a pallet shelter site, but housing solutions are needed across our state, in every municipality,” stated Marqaux Morisseau, Deputy Director at the RI Coalition to End Homelessness.
Reilly encourages residents throughout Cranston to come to City Hall and speak out during public comment at 6 p.m. on Nov. 3 on this issue.
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